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Dead Politician Society (Clare Vengel Undercover #1)

3.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  436 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
Rookie cop Clare Vengel is assigned an undercover job at the local university when a secret group of political science students claims credit for the death of the mayor.
Paperback, 326 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by ECW Press
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(showing 1-30 of 1,061)
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Brian DiMattia
Only read part of this book, so in fairness I should say that it may get better. But the writing wasn't good enough to keep going.

There was no subtlety, and no nuance. Have you ever been around a group of people where everyone there is convinced that they are either the smartest person in the room, or the cleverest, or both? That's what it was like reading these characters. They were all either self-important and arrogant, or cliched and two-dimensional...set decoration to give the poser charact
Casey (The Bookish Type)
The most compelling aspect of Dead Politician Society is the bizarre cast of characters. Every character Robin Spano crafts sparks strong emotions in the reader - but whether they be positive or negative is an entirely different question. Clare herself is tenacious and determined, always willing to enter the fray head-on. While her recklessness tends to get her in trouble at work, it makes her a winning character that readers will eagerly cheer on. Susannah, one of Clare's political science clas ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Su rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't expecting to like this book, because it's not a genre I generally enjoy. However, Robin Spano's writing style is fun to read and engaging, and the plot was paced well enough to raise tension about whodunit while also keeping me interested. It's definitely not rated PG, so if you're looking for a family-friendly read, this isn't it. It's definitely one that I enjoyed enough to re-read.
Colleen Cross
Aug 12, 2011 Colleen Cross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clare Vengel is very cool and I hope I can read the next book in the series soon! Robin Spano's characters are quirky and original, and her political revenge premise is fresh and interesting. Looking forward to more!
Jan 08, 2012 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first read of this upcoming author was 100% first rate. This is a start of something very special. Loved this book.
Oct 08, 2010 Kelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever changed purses for the season and unexpectedly found a twenty dollar bill in the bottom of your old purse? Whenever that happens to me I immediately spend the money on something totally frivolous like Godiva chocolate or a manicure. It's the best guilty pleasure, isn't it?

I had that same feeling reading Dead Politician Society. This was an unexpected find and I really enjoyed it. I discovered this book when I read an interview with Robin Spano on Daisy Chain Book Reviews and left a
Kari Anderson
Sep 11, 2010 Kari Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Politician’s are dropping like flies and rookie cop Clare Vengel finally gets her break to go undercover and show the world what she’s got. Her first gig, a college poli-sci student trying to find who is poisoning the politicians.

Dead Politician Society is written through the eyes of Clare, Matthew, Annabelle, Laura and Jonathan. Clare of course is our leading lady. Matthew is her new poli-sci “teacher”, who may also be in charge of the secret society that claims to be killing the politicians. A
Jason (RawBlurb)
Robin Spano’s “Dead Politician Society”.. How to put this.. I was happy but not surprised.

Let me explain.

Dead Politician Society (DPS) is an undercover detective novel. The Mayor is poisoned and dies on stage during a speech. A cryptic untraceable email from the killer is received by the Toronto star, it is signed by a rumored Utopian secret society on the local college campus. The police send in Clare under cover to see if she can fish for more details. they have no other leads.

Clare really lea
CoffeeBook Chick
Mar 03, 2011 CoffeeBook Chick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With its almost vintage 1950s mystery cover, a la graphic novel, I was intrigued.

Clare is just past the age of twenty-one and is a police officer working boring breaking and entering cases and somehow gets a crack at going undercover when the local mayor dies at a political event. Reasons abound for Clare to become a student at the University of Toronto, and her Political Science class offers more than enough suspects to find a killer who has made killing politicians a priority to spread the wor
Alexander Inglis
I have lived in Toronto almost my entire life, and vaguely in downtown Toronto my entire adult life. I love this city, warts and all ... so I am sucker for new writers setting their tales in my front yard. And back yard. If "The Streets of Toronto" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as if that ended in "San Francisco", my heart skips a beat, nonetheless, every time. So what a joy to discover the work of Robin Spano and her first novel Dead Politician Society starts out with murder of the may ...more
Dec 19, 2010 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rookie police officer, Clare Vengel is on her first undercover assignment, which she is determined to get right. And really, how hard can it be? All her supervisor wants her to do is pose as a political science student, gather information, and report back to him. There’s to be no heroics or putting herself in dangerous situations. To accomplish this task, Clare needs to befriend some of her classmates, as one of them might be the serial killer who’s poisoning politicians. But in Clare’s world, r ...more
Filled with twists and turns, shadowy characters and situations that are not as they seem, Dead Politician Society is what one expects from a mystery. Yet, it is so much more. Subtle in its intricacies, each character peels back the layers of the mystery, unveiling a welcome depth to the story.

Dead Politician Society is told from the point of view of multiple characters. While this can be a bit confusing in the beginning, it allows the story to become character-driven rather than action-driven.
Oct 01, 2010 Pauline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never read a single Nancy Drew book in my puny 20-year existence, a fact which has been a cause for ridicule by one of the guys I used to date (he was big on The Hardy Boys, so it follows that he date girls who grew up reading Nancy Drew - but I was an exception, sorta). All I know is that she was this chick who solved crimes with coiffed hair. So to compare Clare Vengel - the protagonist of Robin Spano's first novel - to Nancy Drew would probably be a bit off, maybe even disappointing to t ...more
Catherine Astolfo
Dec 18, 2011 Catherine Astolfo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robin Spano is a master with dialogue. It’s intelligent, witty, charming, and revelatory all at once. Her characters are primarily young but regardless of age, they are all interesting and sympathetic. Each of them reveals a great deal about him or herself through their discussions, debates, word games or simple conversations.

This art of illuminating character through dialogue is difficult but Spano accomplishes it in her first novel like a seasoned pro. The plot is unique, somewhat tongue-in-ch
Dec 02, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, novel, e-book
Although I don't usually read mystery novels, I gave Dead Politician Society a try because it sounded interesting...and I knew the author! So while I can't compare it to many other mystery books, I can still say that this was an engaging story and a truly fantastic cast of characters. I may not have liked them all (in fact, some were downright annoying!), but each and every one of the book's characters was well crafted and intriguing, and it was because of this that I found the novel so involvin ...more
Dona Matthews
Jul 21, 2010 Dona Matthews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book won't be available until september, 2010, but i've had the pleasure of reading it in manuscript--
robin spano has created a delightful new sleuth -- a smart, sweet, tough-talking young motorcyclist named clare vengel -- who tangles with a terrible situation involving politicians dying, university professors, students, and others, set mostly at the university of toronto

to see more about dead politician society, go to
to see a very cool trailer of this book: h
Another solid release from ECW Press! Dead Politician Society, the debut novel from Robin Spano, tells the tale of a young undercover police woman on her first assignment. The mayor dies suddenly at an event, poisoned by a secret society: Society for Political Utopia. Clare enrolls in the political sciences program at University of Toronto to learn more about the society and determine who is behind these murders.

I recommend this book for any mystery fan.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book
Apr 10, 2012 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a new author for me, I have a nook which comes from Barnes and Nobels, so each Friday they have a free book you can download, this is how I came to read this book. Once again if you like the good old fashioned mystery, than you should read this book, I never could figure out " who done it ", it was a shock, so this is a good read.
Read On......
Jun 19, 2011 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robin Spano did a wonderful job with this book The characters are well developed and fooling around with the protagonist as she finds her feet in the undercover world.
This is definitely a page turner. I finished it in 2 days of fascinated reading. I can't wait for the next book from Robin Spano.

Leslie Iskander
Nov 27, 2014 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-reads
One of the better mysteries I've read in awhile. The short chapters with shifting focus made it more of a page turner. I was even reading at my desk at work when I could spare a few minutes!
Jun 13, 2014 GlenK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
"Dead Politician Society" is the first of a Canadian series featuring Clare Vengel, an undercover police detective with attitude. Here she is investigating the public deaths by poison of a number of Toronto politicians. This is sort of a "police procedural" but really Vengel is just one of many main characters (some are academic types, some are newspaper types) who are all trying to ascertain (usually in isolation) the "why" of the killings and the "who" (both the perpetrator "who" and the next ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Alison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This is one of those mysteries where who-dun-it is obvious from the beginning, and the tension comes from watching the various characters shift the pieces around until the big picture can be seen by everyone. It can be a risky way to structure a mystery, but Spano handled it well and maintained the tension until the end. That, her gift for dialogue, and the way her Toronto felt like a gritty big city rather than a perfectly safe and sanitized ride at a Disney park are what I enjoyed about this n ...more
Sep 13, 2010 Grant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This was a fun, one-day read. Very well written and planned out. It's the first "who-done-it" that I've read in a long time where the writer didn't give away the store early on.
Nov 14, 2011 Joel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoying this quick read about a young undercover cop in Toronto, taking PoliSci classes to get to the bottom of the "Dead Politician Society". Catchy, clever dialog.
Toni ~married to a hunk~
I meet Robin at Bouchercon 2011 and had a great time talking to her so I had to get her books. Can't wait to read the next one and did not guess who did it. :-)
Jan 04, 2014 Kendra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
Certainly an unusual mystery novel. Despite being billed as "A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel", the narrative shifts from the perspective of about five different characters. The shifts in perspective are quite quick, so we get about three pages from each character. I don't think any character was really sympathetic; I found most of them pretty self-serving.

The plot and setting are quite fun -- a U of T poli sci class that creates a secret society for utopian goals becomes involved in murders of p
Aug 13, 2010 Carole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I should read the books before I review them, but I just KNOW this will be great!!!
Kim Moritsugu
Dec 15, 2013 Kim Moritsugu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A spritely contemporary mystery with a kick-ass sleuth and a well-handled plot.
Sep 14, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. Great Characters and a great storyline!
Paula Ratcliffe
Sep 15, 2010 Paula Ratcliffe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
This book is great it's about a group known as SPU who's been killing Politicans. Clare goes undercover to try to determine how deep SPU (Society for Public Utopia) goes and who's involved all the while trying to pretend to be a college student. The SPU is such a secret society then no one will mention it to anyone but who's involved. They leave business cards at the scene of crimes. Clare is also proving she can do undercover and move off of being a beat cop.

Annabel who's a writer for a local
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Robin is a mystery author from Toronto, living in Vancouver. She loves to chat about books with everyone except her husband, who hates reading. This is probably a good thing, in that it gets her outside doing things when she could happily lose herself in fiction.
More about Robin Spano...

Other Books in the Series

Clare Vengel Undercover (3 books)
  • Death Plays Poker (Clare Vengel Undercover, #2)
  • Death's Last Run (Clare Vengel Undercover, #3)

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